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Sheetrit: Ashkenazi Leaders Lack Negotiation Skills with Arabs

In an interview with Mazal Mualem, Meir Sheetrit explains why Israel should have adopted long ago the Arab Peace Initiative.
Israeli Kadima party chairman Roni Bar-on (L) and Transportation Minister Meir Sheetrit attend a Kadima party meeting in Jerusalem January 16, 2006. Ariel Sharon's Kadima party named interim Prime Minister Olmert as its acting chairman on Monday to lead it into Israel's March 28 election, a party statement said. REUTERS/Chris Helgren - RTR1882C
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Even when he was in the Likud, current HaTenua faction chairman Meir Sheetrit was regarded as a political dove. In fact, Sheetrit’s political positions could easily earn him a place of honor in the Meretz [left-wing] party. No sweat.

Ever since the Arab Peace Initiative was launched in 2002, Moroccan-born Sheetrit became one of its most prominent lobbyists. As a minister in the Sharon government, he tried, unsuccessfully, to persuade Prime Minister Ariel Sharon to adopt the Arab Initiative at the expense of the disengagement plan from Gaza. Despite his efforts, Sheetrit remained alone in his opinions. Now, in his new political home under Tzipi Livni’s leadership, he is trying again to persuade his compatriots in the faction to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative as their diplomatic program. In an interview with Al-Monitor, Sheetrit said that the coming year is the opportunity for Livni and HaTenua to promote the peace process, “because if it doesn’t happen — we will disappear.”

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